Your Topical Tanaka
- [AZ Central] Diamondbacks probably should pursue Tanaka if he’s available - "Of course, they’d still be committing about 15 percent of their payroll to one player. It’d be harder to survive if they were wrong about him. And that’s what makes the choice to pursue him a pure baseball decision: If the Diamondbacks’ talent evaluators are convinced he’ll be top-of-the-rotation guy, then they ought to go after him."
- [New York Post] Sizing up the Yankees’ 8 biggest Tanaka challengers - a good primer on the teams apparently most interested in the pitcher. Yes, it includes us.
- [FoxSports[ Expect Tanaka to land big bucks in unprecedented bidding war - A note of caution on Tanaka, warning about his "less-than-perfect" mechanics, and reminding us of Steve Avery, who flamed out early. Saying his mediocre fastball would need to be overcome by extraordinary command to play at the MLB level, but he'll still get a truckload of cash.
- [CBSSports.com] Who needs Masahiro Tanaka the most? - Another overview, though a shorter list might have been, "Who doesn't need Masahiro Tanaka"?
- [SportsonEarth.com] Priced Out - "Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka has been posted, and under the new system in place, will essentially be a free agent. But there's no reason to think that small-market teams have a better shot at him than they would have previously." Sadly, this may well turn out to be the case.
- [Revenge of the Birds] Striking Out for Kids Cancer Bowling Classic - Cardinals star Daryl Washington will team up with Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez to raise money for a good cause tonight.
- [AP] ex-Dback Alex Cabrera breaks Venezuelan home run record - "Cabrera hit his 21st home run on Sunday, a grand slam that soared into the left-field bleachers and surpassed the tally set in 1980 by former big league catcher Bo Diaz." He spent his entire major-league career (31 games) with us, but there was a cloud of suspicion after PEDs were found in a package addressed to him, and sent here to the clubhouse. He also tied the then-Japanese HR record in 2002.
- [ArizonaSports] Reed: 'I'm not a guy who's going to be timid out there' - "I'm going to attack the hitter. I'm not a guy who's going to be timid out there. I like to use my fastball a lot. Last year, I started to mix in my slider a little bit more and all last season. And this offseason, the main focus has been slider and changeup."
- The Only Real Game - a documentary about a remote corner of India, where baseball has held on insteard of cricket, where the equipment may be lacking, but the participants "pursue the game with a purity of purpose – a passion – the rest of us perhaps can only dream of." Sounds rather interesting.
- Million Dollar Arm - speaking of baseball in India, there's a feature film out in May, which starts Jon Hamm as an agent who comes up with the idea of a reality show to find potential pitcher in the billion-person population of India. Here's the trailer.
- [ESPN] Best baseball songs - "Forget Jingle Bells. We're in the mood for a different kind of music. Baseball music. Here's Off Base's take on the game's best songs."
- [AP] Rangers’ Leonys Martin Held for Ransom in Mexico in 2010 - "Like many Cuban baseball stars, outfielder Leonys Martin dreamed of leaving the communist island for the bright lights and big money of Major League Baseball. Martin accomplished his goal in 2011...but not before what court documents and the Justice Department describe as a harrowing ordeal in which he was held for ransom in Mexico while his family members were kept under surveillance in South Florida."
- [Baseball Nation] The end of the Papelbon-sized contract for closers - "Unless there's a nascent super-closer close to free agency who's going to emerge in the next few months, we're pretty far from the next Papelbon contract. We might not see it again for several years, if ever."